It’s Not About The Race

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TDU Day 2-2-2

What other sport in the world can you venture into the countryside,  ride on the same roads as one of the biggest events in the world, shoot the breeze with countless other passionate fans while you’re waiting for the race to arrive, and then get within a foot of guys like Lance Armstrong when he goes by!?    I think that the accessibility in cycling is the key to its popularity.   Accessibility to the pro athletes and accessibility to the lifestyle.  A good proportion of cycling fans also ride bikes themselves.  You can ride the exact same bike as your favorite cyclist – or better if you like.   How many F1 fans own a car like their sporting heroes drive?  How many footie fans still play footie?    Cycling is a people’s sport. There’s few other sports on Earth where people connect with is so strongly.  Why else would so many thousands of people take the week off work and make their way out into the middle of nowhere just to see the peloton scream by for under 30 seconds a stage?  It’s hard to explain why we do this, but we love it!

Today I started to get the hang of how to do the Tour Down Under.  The whole race is based in Adelaide and the stages are not very far away.  This makes it easy to ride to a section of the stage with your mates, grab a coffee, see an exciting part of the race, then finish off your ride fueled with that heart pumping adrenaline you just experienced.   You can do this day after day. There’s no stress of switching hotels and going to another city for the next stage.  I’m sure the riders love it for this as well.

We ended up on Checker Hill which is a $#^% of a climb.  My computer read 20% and it went on forever.  My legs were burning and as I thought this couldn’t go on for much longer I saw a “KOM 200m” sign!  200m is a LONG way when it’s 20%.  I cracked!

The cool thing about watching these races is that you can make-believe that you’re in the race.  When you climb up a road like Checker Hill and there’s thousands of fans you can’t help but imagine for a second that you’re in the race.  If you were one of the ones riding today, don’t deny that for a brief moment you didn’t pretend that you were in a break away up that climb with thousands of mad fans cheering you on.   I know I did!

TDU Day 2-3-2Checker hill I noticed that most of the pros had 25t cassettes on for this climb.

After our hours of anticipation and 30 seconds of race action we had an intense hammer session back to Adelaide through the stunning George Road with a bunch of similarly pumped up fans/cyclists.  In our own little race home it was VIC v.s. ACT v.s QLD v.s NSW v.s. SA v.s WA.  It was one of the biggest smashfests I’ve had all year.  VIC cleaned up if you’re wondering…

If you weren’t at the race you probably heard that Greipel won before any of us did.  This is the funny thing here.  I’m not so sure that the race is the most important thing most of us are here for.  The race itself just creates this massive energy, vibe and atmosphere to the city.  The rest of it is left to us, the fans.

Tomorrow is going to be a scorching 40C.  If you read this in time I’ll be at the SRAM tent at 9:30ish tomorrow and going for a ride up to Stirling at 10:30 to watch the race.  SRAM will be providing a light breakfast and coffee to any fellow CT’ers who come.  This is an open invite to all of you.  SRAM is at the bottom on Greenhill Road at Feathers Hotel – you can’t miss it.

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Arthur Vichot, the most obscure PRO in the TdU.  His fanclub was out in full force today.  I’m gonna see if I can hit Arthur up for an interview.

IMG_1451The most stylish PRO rider on the road today.  Carrying a pump in pocket is not PRO however.  CO2 cartridge or support vehicle (preferably European station wagon) is the only acceptable form of puncture repair.

TDU Day 2-4David Kemp smashing the break away up Checker Hill (photo by James Broadway – pretty good for an iPhone)

TDU Day 2-7The peloton making its way up the 20% leg thrasher.  I was surprised that only a couple guys were only slightly off the back at this point in the climb. (photo by James Broadway – more iPhone magic)

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The hammerfest home!

TDU Day 2-4-2It was a nice evening to finish the day off with a dip. (photo by James Broadway – on real camera)

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